Search This Blog


New thinking needed for Recovery Authority to get job done

In her usual, decisive fashion, Gov. Kathleen Blanco only took seven weeks from the landfall of Hurricane Katrina to come up with a committee, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, to plan the state’s response to the recent hurricane disasters, who will issue their final report in just five months after Katrina hit.

While other governors acted by setting up such commissions and calling substantive special legislative sessions weeks ago, Blanco has created a group to figure out how to act, which may not even have its business finished by the time Blanco calls a substantive special session of the Legislature in January. And at first glance the composition of the Authority’s board doesn’t encourage one to think real solutions that break from the state’s wretched past will be forthcoming from it.

Let’s face it – with names like Walter Isaacson (who led Time magazine and Cable New Network in trendy, predictably leftist directions – no doubt a factor in their losing market share during his tenures), Sibal Holt (former head of an impediment to economic growth in the state, the Louisiana AFL-CIO), Donna Brazile (considered very liberal when she ran Al Gore’s failed attempt for the presidency in 2000, considering the moonbats who have taken over the national Democratic Party, in five short years now actually sounds reasonable by comparison), and Mary Matalin (who has had good ideas in the past but how can you trust somebody on this who married somebody who is all rhetoric and no logic or substance?) – there’s more of a chance for tired, failed ideas of the past being adopted than the true progressive (at least to Louisiana) agenda necessary for recovery.

Nevertheless, let’s give the group the benefit of the doubt – and there’s an easy way for it to show they are serious about doing something meaningful. After the first week’s organizing, there are one-month and 100-day agendas for the group. Each agenda provides an item that can serve as an acid test of whether we’ll get the same old story that has led Louisiana to the bottom of indicators of the state’s quality, or break from that and give the state a better chance truly to recover.

On the month’s agenda: “Initiate business recovery, retention, and attraction efforts.” Louisiana’s past populist, redistributionist, liberal policies have been as encouraging to business attraction and development as the Ku Klux Klan’s creed has been to black, Jewish, and Catholic membership. If the Authority meant (sorry about the pun) business, the state corporate income tax would be wiped off the books (other states do fine without one), the federal government could be petitioned to permanently waive Davis-Bacon job-killing requirements, and job credits for business to hire employees residing in the areas affected by the hurricanes would be put in place.

On the 100-day agenda: “Work with our federal partners to ensure that Congress and the Corps of Engineers deliver a plan for levee reconstruction and improvement so crucial investments and rebuilding decisions can be made.” Again, Louisiana’s political culture has created a situation where one gets local governments out for their own interests, local and state officials unwilling to rein them in where they can, and the state’s national elected officials from putting political agendas ahead of good sense. To change this in the case of the levee system would require truly radical ideas, such as getting rid levee boards entirely, consolidating governments in New Orleans (why two clerks of courts, sheriffs, seven assessors, etc.?), and stamping out patronage and preferments to reduce the incentives for inefficiency, if not outright corruption, that led to inadequate levee allocations, design, and building in the first place.

We can only hope, but the get-along-go-along philosophy of the Blanco Administration and the people it has selected to this agency should not make us optimistic that these necessary things, or those like them on other agenda items, will get done.

No comments: